How to Choose a Medical Assistant Training in Edwards California
Once you have made a decision to join the rewarding field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant course in Edwards CA, it’s time to select a college that will furnish the right training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? Many prospective students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their residences and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are very important, such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues also. You might want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The bottom line is that before you select a program you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are assessing. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s briefly talk about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Essentially their function is ensure that the Edwards CA hospitals, clinics and other medical care facilities where they work operate efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for providing direct assistance to the nurses, doctors and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. A few of the possible duties of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and submitting claims
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Collecting blood and other fluid and tissue specimens
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Giving general support during exams and procedures
While Edwards CA medical assistants can carry out almost any duty they are qualified to under California law, some opt to specialize in a specific area and obtain certification. Two of the choices available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) made available by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Courses and Certification
Unlike many other medical professionals, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Edwards CA employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are essentially two choices available for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to obtain a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, some as little as 6 to 9 months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical component involving an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a 4 year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is an excellent option for those who want to boost their careers. Not only will it help in securing a job after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. Many possible Edwards CA employers simply will not employ a medical assistant that has not obtained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and perhaps the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered also, including the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Programs
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if attended at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, a number of online schools have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Supplemental expenses including those for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized as well. But remember that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be carried out in area California medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your training might be the right option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Edwards CA is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant program options, you must choose which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Edwards CA or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can begin the process of comparing schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should explore when evaluating California schools. To help you with that process, following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Medical Assistant Course Accredited? There are a number of good reasons to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you must complete an accredited program. Two of the accepted organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Edwards CA employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Edwards CA area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you must learn which of the certifications the schools you are considering are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Second, ask what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a school’s program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will prefer to avoid.
Which Credentials are Provided? As we covered earlier, there are basically two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the fastest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is about one year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a broader education that will require approximately 2 years to finish in a junior college or trade school. Whichever program you decide to enroll in, confirm that the Edwards CA area colleges you are looking at provide the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Offered? A large number of California medical assistant programs offer internship programs with area medical providers. They are an excellent way to get hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students develop relationships within the Edwards CA medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Finding that very first job may be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Verify that the schools you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a broad network of employers in the Edwards CA area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more prone to offer increased access to teachers and face to face interaction. If possible, try to monitor a couple of classes before selecting a school in the Edwards CA area to experience what the teaching atmosphere is like and just how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full time, it’s imperative that the school you select provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Edwards CA, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online school, but you will also need to schedule all internships or clinical training that may be required. Additionally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you might have to miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Medical Assistant Training in Edwards CA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will furnish the proper training. Regardless if you’re planning to begin a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have covered in this article, confirm that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the kind of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the ideal program you can ultimately start a gratifying career as a medical assistant in Edwards CA.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Medical Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a medical assistant job, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask applicants is "What drove you to pick medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you should organize a number of strategies about how you want to address them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Some Cities in California That May Be Of Interest